Very Tight In Group A

Last updated : 25 November 2003 By Meganjack
Celtic were left to regret missed opportunities as they were held to a 0-0 draw at home against Bayern Munich. With Anderlecht winning over Lyon, the cat is really among the pigeons in Group A. Anderlecht, Lyon and Celtic all have seven points while Bayern have six. The relaxation just yet for all the managers.
The Parkhead side were dominant throughout the game but could not find the back of the net. To add to their disappointment they will now be without Alan Thompson for their final group match against Lyon in two weeks time after he picked up a second-half yellow card. Sven Goran Eriksson had traveled to Glasgow to watch Thompson to see if he could fit in with his plans.

Martin O'Neill's men were dominant in the first half, but their efforts in front of goal came to nothing in a period which ended goalless. Henrik Larsson and John Hartson both proved troublesome for an unimpressive looking Bayern defence. Hartson's first chance came after just two minutes when he picked up a cross from Chris Sutton but he did not get enough power behind his right-footed shot and it was easily gathered by Oliver Kahn. On 13 minutes Larsson was brought down by Robert Kovac and his long-range free-kick from 25 yards out looked to be heading into the back of the net until Kahn showed great agility in pushing it past the upright. Five minutes later Larsson produced another opportunity, beating two Bayern defenders on his way towards goal before sending his left-footed effort straight at the keeper. It was not until midway through the first half that the Germans had their first real attempt on goal. Michael Ballack struck a formidable volley from 30 yards out, but Magnus Hedman tipped it over the crossbar to maintain the status quo. The upturn in Bayern's fortunes was short-lived as Celtic immediately resumed their dominance of the game.

Bobo Balde and Stilian Petrov both took shots at goal, Balde sending a header narrowly over the crossbar and Petrov trying to capitalise on a mistake by Kahn. Poor discipline from Bayern handed Celtic the upper hand in the second half with Willy Sagnol, Samuel Kuffour and Bixente Lizarazu all being shown yellow cards within the space of six minutes. The Bhoys could not capitalise on any of these mistakes by their opponents and then were struck by a blow when Thompson was booked for a late tackle on Hasan Salihamidzic. In the following minutes Sutton and Larsson both had penalty appeals turned down by the referee and Hartson saw his shot blocked on the line after he had done good work to beat Kuffour. A relatively uneventful closing period saw the match stutter to a goalless draw. Celtic are now top of the group but must take a point from their next match to progress.

Celtic: Hedman, Varga, Balde, McNamara, Agathe, Lennon, Petrov, Sutton, Thompson, Larsson, Hartson
Douglas, Gray, Sylla, Valgaeren, Maloney, Mjallby, Miller

Bayern Munich: Kahn, Sagnol, Kuffour, Kovac, Lizarazu, Salihamidzic, Jeremies, Ballack, Hargreaves, Makaay, Santa Cruz
Subs: Rensing, Demichelis, Pizarro, Rau, Linke, Schweinsteiger, Ze Roberto

Referee: Rene Temmink (Holland)

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